Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
Once upon a time, there lived a man called Blackbeard the Pirate. His real name was Edward Teach. Young Edward was born in England two or three hundred years ago (exactly when doesn't matter). England, at that time, was the center of the evil British Empire. While it reigned over much of the world, living conditions were extremely harsh at home. Children had to work in dreary factories that belched so much smoke into the atmosphere that the planet was in deadly peril. In short, England was a hellhole.
For a young lad like Edward, there were no real opportunities in life. So he did what many young Englishmen did. He joined the British armed forces,in his case, the Royal Navy. At that time, England was fighting against a bunch of other countries in one of their never-ending wars-in this case, the War of the Spanish Succession, in which Europe decided to go to war over who was going to be the next Spanish king-or some other silly cause, perhaps.
What happened to Edward was typical. He was exposed to terrible fighting on the sea, experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and when he left the Navy, there were no jobs available for him, so he turned to being a pirate-the only natural choice. He thus became known as Blackbeard the Pirate-and Victim.
As a pirate, Blackbeard was active in the Caribbean and the waters off the east coast of that other imperialistic state, the United States. Blackbeard struck terror into the hearts of those capitalistic shippers and their crews. He was noted for his long black beard. When he went into battle against the imperialists and capitalists, he would light matches in his beard, which would strike terror into the hearts of liberals who insisted on paying his ransoms. Efforts by the US Secretary of State to convince shipping companies not to sell him any boats were futile. Numerous conferences were called by the Secretary of State with all the colonies to find a solution always with no results.
One day, however, Blackbeard and his ship were attacked by a mercenary crew led by the CIA on the coast of North Carolina. Popular history records that Blackbeard was killed in this battle, but such was not the case. In reality, he was captured alive and taken to a secret prison camp in the swamps of North Carolina. Everything looked bleak for poor Blackbeard. But lo and behold, a new president was elected and reigned over the land with a kind and benevolent heart. Blackbeard was ordered to be turned over to the federal courts for a proper trial. He was given a lawyer, who promptly succeeded in having much of the evidence against Blackbeard thrown out due to an illegal search of his ship. His confession to being a pirate was also thrown out because the nasty CIA agents never advised him of his Miranda rights. In the end, the kindly old judge hearing the case dismissed all charges against Blackbeard.
At this point, the US attempted to deport Blackbeard back to England, but after numerous hearings that lasted for years, the Supreme Court ruled that sending Blackbeard back to England would constitute cruel and inhuman punishment because he would be forced to go back to work in one of those filthy factories that were polluting the environment.
In the end, Blackbeard was allowed to remain in the US. He achieved US citizenship and was hired to teach at Harvard University. His lectures were always filled to the rafters with students eager to hear him excoriate the US for violating his human rights and the rights of pirates everywhere. As a speaker, he was most eloquent, and his audiences were all captivated by his oratory.
Today, in his memory, Harvard University has named a scholarship in his name-the Edward Teach Scholarship, which is bestowed annually to the student who best exemplifies the qualities of Blackbeard the Pirate.
(All you history types, save your cards and letters.)